We knew it was going to happen this past season, but now it's official, Maya Gabeira has broken the record for the biggest wave ever surfed by a woman.
Maya set the original record a few years back at Nazare, which capped out at the 68ft mark. But the new record now sits at an eye-watering 73.5ft, during a session in February of this year at Nazare once again.
Live cam: Nazare
“This wave was during the [WSL Nazaré Tow Surfing] contest and although I say I’m not a competitive person, I was very in the zone and braver than I usually am on this day,” said Gabeira. “I was risking more than I usually like to do. When I let go of the rope, I had a feeling it could be the one but wasn’t sure. The speed was very high but the noise that the wave made when it broke made me realise that this was probably the biggest wave I’d ever ridden.
““This World Record really strikes me as quite amazing because the size of the wave was measured taller than the men’s size for the winner, so it means a woman actually rode the biggest wave of the year overall,” continued Gabeira. “That to me was something I had dreamed of years ago but not as something realistic. There was no representation for me to believe that it was possible but to see that happen is incredible. This is seen as an extremely male-dominated sport, so to have a woman be able to represent that is quite rare.”
At the time, MSW speculated that a wave surfed by Justine Dupont could have set a new record. But in a close race, Gabeira’s ride measured only 2-to-3 feet larger than Justine's nominated wave from the same competition day on February 11. Dupont’s second nominated wave took place on November 13, 2019, also in Nazaré, Portugal.
“I am a big fan of Justine (Dupont) and what she has been doing at Nazaré,” said Gabeira. “I think it’s one of the reasons I kept pushing myself. I was on the edge of retiring a few years ago and then I saw her evolution and thought I have to keep up for a few more years. I really didn’t expect to go any bigger or anything like that, but I kept riding and enjoying my time at Nazaré and that wave was quite special although it was quite terrifying as well.”